Greek-Australian man Dimitri Garbas, a father of two, has been battling multiple sclerosis since 2017. Fighting off crippling nerve pain and an array of other symptoms, he is now pinning his hopes on trying a new treatment that he must travel to Russia to receive.
Called Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), the treatment is part of a desperate effort on the part of the young man, who says “All I want in this life is to be a loving, caring and able dad to my young family.
“This is my cross to bear and I have been blessed with two healthy, beautiful children and a wife that has stood by my side.”
Multiple sclerosis is a scourge that takes many forms, often eludes treatment
As Garbas tells Greek Reporter, “you see, as my condition worsens and day to day living gets harder I owe it not only to myself, but to my family, to ask for help wherever I can.”
Garbas and his wife received the disturbing diagnosis four years ago, when his wife was pregnant with their first child. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable, disabling autoimmune disease damaging the central nervous system; only 0.02% of people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS to date.
“I was in the prime of my life,” Garbas says when he was diagnosed, remembering “On September 16th, 2017 I recall waking up that morning with what I thought was a sore back and numbness down the left-hand side of my body.
“The neurologists walked into the room and told me and my wife ‘You have MS,’ followed by ‘from the morning you woke up like this, your life will never be the same again.’
“These words will play in my mind repeatedly in my darkest moments,” Garbas admits. At the time, however, he was holding out hope that the drugs to fight MS that are currently on the market would do the trick and restore him to a somewhat normal life.
“I had to be positive — I had a baby girl on the way and had to be able for her for when she needs me the most,” he explains on his GoFundMe page. “I wasn’t going to let MS ruin the happiest time of my life, the birth of my child.” After an initial improvement in his condition, however, he began to be plagued with the exhaustion that is often endemic with MS.
Sharp pains in his spine, arms, legs, and hands was followed by blurred vision and muscle spasms, resulting in his becoming immobile for a time.
The multiple sclerosis drugs that he took “simply did not work for me,” Garbas says, adding that he is determined to undergo the experimental treatment because “I will not leave any stone unturned on my quest” to be cured of the malady.
“HSCT is delivering the best results to date, stopping the progression of the disease at an 85% success rate,” Garbas notes, adding “It’s extremely unfortunate that this treatment is only available in Australia for MS patients under strict criteria, once the disease has actually resulted in significant irreparable damage.”
Garbas hopes that, if his goal is met to raise $85,000, he can undergo the treatment in Russia. “With God in my heart and support of all family and friends, I am prepared to try HSCT. I for one will not sit back waiting and wondering what tomorrow may bring in the form of this disability,” he declares.
“I’m not doing this just for me I’m doing it for my family,” Garbas states, adding “I sincerely hope you’re never in my position — but if you were, I believe you would do all that you could to overcome it.”
All those who would like to help may contribute to Garbas’ GoFundMe page, here.